Friday, December 16, 2016

Tunnel Vision

There are dramatic vision changes as dementia progresses. People living with dementia lose peripheral vision and their visual field becomes narrower and narrower. By mid-disease they have tunnel vision. You can simulate this by making "binoculars" with our hands like we did when we were children. This field of vision is about 12" round. This means that a person living with dementia cannon see something unless it is directly in front of them and just about at eye level. 

We explore what this means in my Positive Approach to Care monthly workshops. Through role playing we can put ourselves in the person living with dementia's shoes and see what they can and cannot see. Only then can we understand what kind of changes we need to make in our approach so they can see us and we can make a connection.

These photos are from a recent Using a Positive Physical Approach class. During the vision change exercise there were many AH-HA moments. One woman whose husband is much much taller than she is realized why he cannot see her when she is standing right by him. Another person in the class whose mother is generally seated realized that the reason her mother always commented on her shoes first thing was because that was all she could see of her when she approached. Here are some photos from that day were we role played different approaches and changing vision.

Here is a video of Teepa Snow talking about vision changes that come with dementia and what it means,